By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja –
Akwa Ibom State government has denied report published in a national daily, not LEADERSHIP, which alleged that five people were feared dead following a stampede at one of the gates of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo during the Nigeria vs Zambia World Cup Qualifier last Saturday, describing it as fake.
The state government a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday signed by the commissioner for Information and Strategy Akwa Ibom State, Charles Udoh, it said that there was a rush by spectators; who arrived the venue after the match had started, trying to gain entrance into the stadium which led to a few of them sustaining minor injuries, adding that none of them died.
“I wish to categorically state that the said report is false and tainted with malice.
“There were nine people injured during the incident and all of them were taken to the hospital for treatment while no life was lost.
“This was also confirmed by the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer and the commissioner for Health.,” the statement said.
He averred that Godswill Akpabio International Stadium is probably the best maintained sporting facility in Nigeria today and has no history of poor crowd control as maliciously posited in the report.
“It is on record that Akwa Ibom State is reputed as being; not only a peaceful state but a safe and secure state with credible leadership which is one of the reasons why the state has; in the last 18 months, been listed by the National Bureau of Statistics as the second largest Foreign Direct Investment Destination in Nigeria.
“We are dismayed that such a report; which has a high potency of painting a negative picture of not only Akwa Ibom but Nigeria as country, was published without verifying the facts.
“It is instructive to note that the Nigeria vs Zambia match was a FIFA organised match and mischievous insinuations as contained in the said report could easily lead to Nigeria being sanctioned,” it added.